Warning Signs Your Home Needs Stucco Repair

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Written By Juliet D'cruz

Although stucco siding can be found nationwide, it is especially popular in the Southwest Region. Around 50 to 60% of the homes in this region have stucco siding because it holds up well in a desert-like environment. Stucco can last up to fifty years with proper maintenance. When repair issues arise, homeowners must take action and seek repairs. 

What Is Stucco Siding?

Stucco siding is a cement mixture made from Portland cement, sand, lime, and water. Stucco is a thin coating that goes on the outside of the home. Although stucco dates back as far as 1400 BCE, modern stucco contains polymers that have made it stronger. Adding polymers also improves the flexibility of stucco siding so that it is less likely to crack upon expansion and contraction. Issues requiring stucco repair often revolve around poor maintenance and aging. 

There Are Three Main Types of Stucco

  • One-coat systems are traditional and contain Portland cement, sand, lime, and water. Contractors apply one coat over a rigid foam board to create durable siding. 
  • Two-coat systems use a traditional stucco mix contractors apply to concrete, block, and brick walls. The contractor applies adhesive first, followed by two coats of the stucco mixture. 
  • Three-coat systems use cement, fiberglass, sand, and other additives. The first layer features asphalt-infused paper. The second layer has furred chicken wire and a layer of stucco. The final layer is added to create the traditional stucco texture and allow homeowners to select the color. 

There is no right or wrong approach to selecting stucco siding. Working with a professional contractor ensures homeowners receive the guidance they need. Many choose three-coat systems because they are more durable. 

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How Do Contractors Apply a Stucco Finish?

While some modern siding applications can be installed with a DIY approach, stucco is not one of them. It takes years of training and experience to become a master at stucco applications. The process is time-consuming and labor-intensive. The stucco application requires the following steps. 

  • The contractor first installs a vapor barrier on the outside of the home.
  • The siding specialists prepare the surface by repairing any cracks or damage. 
  • The siding technicians will apply some type of heavy metal mesh to add strength to the siding. 
  • Depending on the chosen system, the stucco layers come next. 
  • The stucco must cure before each new layer. 
  • The contractor will smooth the finish or create a textured look. 

What Are the Benefits of Stucco Siding?

Stucco is an appealing choice for homeowners, especially those living in desert-like climates. It is strong, versatile, and requires little maintenance. The following are some of the many advantages of covering homes and businesses in stucco siding

Stucco Siding Resists Fire

Many homeowners select this siding because of its fire resistance. It only takes one inch of stucco siding to provide a one-hour firewall rating. Stucco can help prevent the spread of fire from one wall to another. Homes located in wildfire-prone areas can benefit from this type of siding protection. 

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Stucco Siding Is Pest-Resistant

Some types of siding can harbor pests that cause damage. Termites love to destroy wood siding. Stucco is naturally pest-resistant, so home and business owners will have less to worry about. 

Stucco Siding Comes in Many Designs and Colors

Stucco is a highly versatile siding material. It can be textured, colored, and smoothed, depending on the desired design. Stucco adds architectural interest to a building’s facade. 

Stucco Lasts for Decades

Another reason to select stucco siding is its durability. On average, stucco lasts up to 50 years and requires very little maintenance. Small cracks and minor damage can be repaired. Homeowners can clean their siding with a garden hose to keep it looking beautiful. 

Stucco Siding Reduces Noise

Some people live on noisy streets, and the noise from traffic and people can come into the home. With stucco siding in place, these sounds become buffered, offering a more peaceful and relaxing home atmosphere. 

Seven Warning Signs of Stucco Damage

Although stucco is long-lasting and durable, it can become damaged. Homeowners should inspect their stucco siding regularly for any signs of damage. When problems arise, it is essential to rely on professionals to make repairs and ensure the stucco becomes durable again. 

Cracks in the Stucco

While cracks may seem like benign damage, they can allow water to infiltrate the home and cause massive damage. If there are many cracks in the stucco, this could indicate a moisture problem. Home and business owners should repair even the most minute of cracks before they start to spread and cause further damage. 

Missing Chunks in the Siding

Chipped stucco or missing chunks signify moderate to severe damage. These issues frequently arise when water is allowed to build up behind the stucco siding. It is worth it for homeowners to bring in a professional to inspect the siding and target the cause of the damage. 

The Window Caulk Is Gapped

A home’s windows can reveal a lot about the state of the stucco siding. Windows are a common source of damage. If the caulk is separating from the window edges, homeowners must take immediate action. If window damage occurs, homeowners need to replace them. At the very least, the caulk must be reapplied. 

The Stucco Remains Wet Long After the Rain

Another sign of repair issues with stucco is consistently wet areas. If the stucco remains wet long after rain, this could signal a moisture problem. Eventually, these wet-looking areas will develop dark streaks that never go away. Seeking repairs right away is critical for protecting the structural stability of the stucco siding and preventing further water damage. 

The Bottom of the Stucco Wall Has Cracks and Bubbles

Homeowners must inspect their stucco siding regularly to check for any signs of damage. Damage can start subtly and suddenly worsen. Check along the base of the wall to see if there are any cracks or bubbles. Water will sometimes leak into the edges and cause damage. 

Drywall Becomes Soft Inside the Home

Check the drywall below the windows in the home for softness. Soft areas mean the drywall is suffering water damage coming from the stucco layer. Moisture can begin to weaken walls quickly. Do not ignore this sign. 

Wet Basement Walls

Homeowners who discover wet basement walls need to have their stucco siding inspected for water infiltration. Although wet basement walls are not always caused by stucco siding, it is wise to have it checked for signs of problems. 

Some Repair Issues Show No Outward Signs

Unfortunately, homes can have stucco problems with no outward signs right away. In fact, if there are no outward signs, this presents a more significant problem because it means the home materials are absorbing much of the water. The only way to ensure the stucco is intact and not allowing water to enter is by scheduling a professional inspection to look for damage. 

Primary Causes of Repair Issues with Stucco Siding

Stucco siding damage can sometimes occur without warning. Homeowners who have noticed the above signs must hire a professional for an inspection. The following are some top reasons stucco siding may become damaged. 

Poorly Made Stucco

One of the most common reasons for stucco water damage is poorly made stucco. If the stucco is made poorly, it will absorb water instead of repel it effectively. Be very selective when hiring a contractor to install stucco siding. Ensure they have years of expertise. 

Improper Stucco Siding Installation

Inexperienced contractors may boast of their stucco installation skills without having any. Improper stucco installation leaves homes and businesses vulnerable to damage. When contractors cut corners to save money, homeowners end up paying in the long run. 

Poor Sealing

Stucco must be sealed to ensure it repels water. Without sealant, the stucco will absorb water and begin to deteriorate. Deterioration can happen quickly, which is why sealants are so critical. 

What Happens If You Ignore Stucco Siding Problems?

Do not ignore stucco problems because they will only worsen over time. Getting to the root of the problem is critical. Ignoring the problems is taking a significant risk of damaging your home. The following are some of the dangers of overlooking stucco damage. 

The Home May Begin to Rot from the Inside Out

One of the most significant dangers of overlooking stucco siding problems is rotting from the inside out. The problem with this type of rot is that homeowners may not realize it is happening until massive damage occurs. Seeking stucco repairs is much less expensive than rebuilding a home. 

Mold Infestations Are Likely

Where there is long-term moisture, there is often mold. The inside of stucco walls becomes a breeding ground for mold growth because of the darkness and moisture. Mold remediation is a significant undertaking and can lead to great stress for home and business owners. Do not ignore problems with your stucco. 

The House May Be Unsalable

Home buyers check out every detail of a home before buying. If they see a stucco problem, they are likely to run from the sale. Have the stucco repaired immediately to avoid lasting and expensive damage. 

Seek Stucco Repair Today

Stucco damage is something no one wants to have to face. Unfortunately, housing materials can break down over time, especially when the wrong ones are used and installed. Schedule an appointment today to have your stucco repaired.